Jude 09 01v4-19 Certain Men
Sermon #9 Jude Sermons
Title: “Certain Men”
Text: Jude 1:4-19
Subject: The Character of False Prophets
Date: Tuesday Evening — November 23, 2004
Tape # Jude #9
Readings: Rex Bartley & Bob Duff
Jude wrote this epistle to the churches of his day because there was a great necessity in those earliest days of Christianity to warn God’s saints of “certain men” among them who were false prophets, preaching a false gospel and thereby deceiving many. He tells us that this was his reason for writing this epistle in verse 3.
(Jude 1:3) "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Then, in verses 4-19 he describes these false prophets. In these sixteen verses he was inspired of God to set forth thirty-one traits, or characteristics of these men who pervert the gospel of Christ and deceive the souls of men. He does so that we might know who those men are against whose doctrine we must stand as we “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.”
In verses 4-19 Jude speaks only of these mockers, who walk after their own ungodly lusts, being of old ordained to this condemnation, who separate themselves from God’s elect, being sensual, and having not the Spirit. Even in Jude’s day, there were tares among the wheat and goats among the sheep. Even those churches of the apostolic era were like Jeremiah's baskets of figs—"One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad" (Jer. 24:2).
Things are no better in our day, but worse. Our Lord warned us repeatedly that this would be the case; and his apostles repeated the warning throughout the epistles of the New Testament. We must ever “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15).
I must proceed no further without first reminding you again what that faith is, “the faith once delivered unto the saints,” for which Jude urges us to contend. Many love contention. Believers despise it. We strive to avoid it at all costs, at all costs except the cost of truth, or the cost of God’s glory, or the cost of our souls. Here is the one thing for which we must ever contend without hesitation, regardless of the cost. — Jude exhorts us, the Spirit of God urges us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Let us never be found contending with other believers about matters of…
· Church Discipline.
· Church Government.
· Open Communion or Closed Communion.
· Prophetic Thoughts.
· Or Differences in the Form of Public Worship.
Those things have varying degrees of importance, but they are not matters vital to the souls of men. They are not, in themselves, gospel issues. Believers may differ upon those things with no harm to their souls. But we must never agree to differ about “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
What is that faith? This is not a question about which we must make speculation. The inspired writers of the New Testament tell us plainly what this one faith involves. It involves all the great doctrines of the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ revealed upon every page of Holy Scripture, by which the everlasting mercy, love and grace of the Triune God are made known to sinners in Christ. These are the things false prophets incessantly attack by their subtle and crafty perversions…
· The Glorious Sovereignty of Our God.
· The Wondrous Efficacy of Accomplished Redemption by Christ. — The Person, Glory, Blood-shedding and Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. — Accomplished Redemption in His Blood.
· Regeneration and Effectual Calling by God the Holy Spirit.
· And the Absolute, Sure and Certain Preservation of God’s Elect in Christ unto Eternal Glory.
These glorious, vital gospel truths are the source, the basis, and the foundation of all our mercies. To contend for these, and with earnestness, is to contend for the very life of our souls. Any indifference, coldness, or hesitancy in openly professing, proclaiming, and defending these glorious truths in us, or reluctance to denounce the denial of them by others, is wounding our Redeemer, in the house of his friends. “It is,” as Robert Hawker stated, “high treason to the Majesty of God.” Let us therefore “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Now, beginning at verse 4 and going through verse 19, Jude tells us who those certain men are who deny the faith for which we must earnestly contend. Jude is not here telling us that some of these things are true of some false prophets and some are true of others. He here gives us one portrait of all false prophets, and details for us their characteristics. Rather than naming specific men as Paul named Hymenaeus and Philetus and John Diotrephes, Jude identifies certain traits by which all false prophets can be recognized. He specifically lists thirty-one traits of these “certain men.” Let’s look at each one briefly.
1. First, he tells us in verse 4 that they are deceitful men, who have crept in amongst the saints unawares. — “For there are certain men crept in unawares.”
Jude is not speaking of men of the world among the infidels, who totally disown Christ. He is talking about certain men who had crept into the professing church. Both Paul and Peter warned us to beware of such apostates (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Pet. 2:13). But Jude had lived to see some of them actually come into the church. What swarms have followed them!
I admire his expression. — These false prophets had “crept in unawares”. God’s saints in those days had no more ability to read the hearts of men than we do. These false professors got into the church and were found among the saints, but they crept in. Like the serpents they were, they had slithered into the church by deceit. As Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, the more successfully to deceive, so his servants take upon themselves the appearance of Christ’s servants and transform themselves into “ministers of righteousness,” and pretend to be great lovers of Christ and his people (2 Cor. 11:14, 15).
“What a mercy is it in all ages of the Church, that the child of God, in whose heart a saving work of grace, by regeneration is wrought, hath this grand consolation for himself, amidst all the coverings of men, the Lord knoweth them that are his! (2 Tim. 2:19). And it is an additional mercy, when, in proof of this, the child of God desires to be tried, and examined, and brought to the test, for the knowledge of himself, and his real character. And, fearing he may be tempted, from self-love, to judge too favorably of himself on this great point of decision, from the judgment of man, he flies to the scrutiny of God. ‘Try me, O God, and seek the ground of my heart; prove me, and examine my thoughts; look if there be any way of wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Ps. 139:23-24). Here is a standard no hypocrite will have recourse to! This is a fire, and which no tinsel of unregenerated men can bear.”
2. Second, Jude tells us that these false prophets were men under the sentence of divine condemnation. — They “were before of old ordained to this condemnation” (v. 4).
I like that. “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men” (2 Tim. 3:8-9). We must never imagine that things are out of control. Even among reprobate men, our God rules. His purpose shall stand. These men withstand us. They make a lot of noise. Multitudes follow them. But God uses them, just as he used Pharaoh, to accomplish his own purpose. They are condemned already. And when God gets done with them, he will destroy them just as he did Pharaoh. And they shall do no real harm.
· God’s purpose will not be thwarted by them.
· God’s church and kingdom shall never be harmed by them, but only made manifest (1 Cor. 11:19).
(1 Corinthians 11:19) "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you."
3. Third, the Holy Spirit identifies all false prophets as “ungodly men” (v. 4).
That does not mean that they live in immorality, or promote it. Were that the case they could never be elevated to places of authority among true believers. They preach up what they call godliness, holiness, and works of righteousness. When Jude tells us that they are “ungodly men” he means for us to understand that everything they teach is directly leveled against the truth of God, the fear of God, the worship of God, and the glory of God. I am certain that that is Jude’s meaning because…
4. He next tells us that these men pervert the gospel of the grace of God. — “Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (v. 4).
They defiantly assert that the gospel of God’s free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ promotes and leads to lasciviousness and opens the flood gates to sin. They denounce absolute free grace as crass antinomianism. That is exactly what the Jews accused our Lord of preaching and exactly what Paul said the false teachers of his day said about his preaching of the gospel (Rom. 3:8).
(Romans 3:7-8) "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? (8) And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just."
The fact is all who preach the gospel of free, full salvation in Christ, without works to cause it, to keep it, or to crown it, in every age are slanderously reported by work mongers and will worshippers as men who promote licentiousness. Works religion always denounces gospel grace as an evil doctrine.
5. These “ungodly men” show their ungodliness in denouncing the gospel as an evil doctrine and by “denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 4).
It cannot be imagined that they openly deny either his Person or work. They could not do that and be accepted as the servants of Christ. What they deny is that God’s grace and God’s salvation are in him and by him alone. They do not necessarily deny that he lived, died, and rose again. They simply deny that he accomplished the redemption of his people by his one sin-atoning sacrifice as our Substitute. They precious “Jesus,” “sweet Jesus,” and call upon people to believe in him. But the “Jesus” they preach is “another Jesus.”
· A Redeemer without Redemption!
· A Savior without Salvation!
· An Atonement without Atonement!
6. Move down to verse 8. Here Jude tells us that these false prophets, all of them, all who denounce the gospel of God’s free grace in Christ as an evil thing and deny the efficacy of Christ’s finished work as our Redeemer, are “filthy dreamers.”
Their doctrines are the fruits of their perverse imaginations, nothing but foolish vagaries and fanciful stories (Jer. 23:28).
(Jeremiah 23:28) "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD."
Defile the Flesh
7. Then we read that false prophets are men who “defile the flesh” (v. 8).
Their freewill/works religion is neither more nor less than the indulgence of their own corrupt passions. All works religion, all religion that teaches men and women that salvation is in some measure or to some degree dependent upon them performing good works is the defiling of the flesh, as Paul puts it, an “unclean thing” not to be touched (2 Cor. 6:17).
8. They also “despise dominion” (v. 8).
· The Dominion of God as God
· The Dominion of God in Providence and Grace
· The Dominion of Christ as Lord of All
· The Dominion of God’s Appointed Civil Government.
· The Dominion of God’s Word in His Church
Speak Evil of Dignities
9. Despising dominion, they do not hesitate to “speak evil of dignities” (v. 8).
They speak evil of both earthly, carnal dignities and of heavenly, spiritual dignities. As Jude uses this phrase, it appears to me that he is specifically telling us that false prophets are men who are quick to speak evil against those men God has set as angels and rulers in the house of God, faithful pastors.
This is an evil so common in churches today that it appears to most to be almost blasphemy to assert that God’s servants are to be respected as God’s servants. Those who dare presume to speak evil of faithful men, men who preach the gospel of Christ to them both disrupt the fellowship of God’s church and court the judgment of God. Moses’ brother Aaron and his sister Miriam found out that such arrogance does not go unnoticed by God whose servants they are (Num. 12:1-16; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:7, 17). Paul warns us not to even receive an accusation against a faithful gospel preacher, much less be the ones who bring accusation (1 Tim. 5:19).
Things They Know Not
10. Skip down to verse 10, and you will see that these who speak evil against God’s servants are also quick to “speak evil of those things which they know not.”
They speak evil against the things of God, particularly, as we saw in verse 4, against the gospel of the grace of God, declaring that it is licentious doctrine.
11. Even in those things that they do know, in a natural sense, as brute beasts, “they corrupt themselves” (v. 10).
All the facts of gospel doctrine can be learned in a natural way. But they corrupt the letter of the gospel and corrupt themselves with it, using it to teach works righteousness, which is corruption and uncleanness.
The Way of Cain
12. In verse 11 Jude pronounces woe upon all false prophets, all teachers of works religion, declaring that “they have gone in the way of Cain.” — “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain!”
What was Cain's sin, here called Cain's "way" It was enmity against his brother. Why did Cain hate Abel? It was because the Lord accepted Abel's offering and rejected his. Thus in legalist’s there is a deep-rooted enmity, inward murder, against the real people of God; and the root of this enmity is, because God accepts us sinners in Christ and rejects them in all their imaginary righteousness. They way of Cain is the way of works righteousness.
The Error of Balaam
13. They run “greedily after the error of Balaam for reward” (v. 11).
The error of Balaam was greed. For personal greed, that hireling prophet did what he did and taught what he taught. His god was his belly. That charge Jude lays against every false prophet. They do what they do for personal gain.
· Financial Gain
· Reputation Gain
· Power Gain
The Gainsaying of Core
14. Then, the Holy Spirit tells us that all such men shall perish “in the gainsaying of Core” (v. 11).
What was that? We are told plainly in Psalm 106:16 that it was envy. — "An envying of Moses in the camp, and of Aaron the saint of the Lord." False prophets do what they do, being envious of God’s true servants, and shall be slain by and in their envy, just as Korah was (Num. 16).
These characters whom Jude condemns thrust themselves forward as gospel preachers. They became towering figures of influence in the churches, speaking evil of God’s servants and declaring that "all the congregation was holy, every one of them, and that the Lord was among them,” and that therefore they did not need to hear and obey God’s true messengers to their souls.
Spots In Your Feasts
15. He says, they are “spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear” (v. 12).
Clouds without Water
16. They are “clouds without (v. 12).
Like clouds in the drought of summer, they promise great things; but they are clouds without water! Their promises are as empty as their hearts.
17. They are men “carried about of winds” (v. 12).
Their doctrine is determined the same way a politician’s “convictions” are determined, by the winds of human opinion.
18. They are “trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots” (v. 12).
They are dead trees in the Lord’s garden, twice dead, dead by nature and made twofold more the children of hell by dead in dead religion. Nothing they do shall last.
19. They are nothing but “raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame” (v. 13). — They roar loud and swell big, and spew out the foam of the filth that is in them.
20. They are nothing but “wandering stars,” shooting stars, sparking comets (v. 13).
21. They are men for whom judgment is sure. — “To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (vv. 13, 14, 15).
Verse 14 — "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,"
Verse 15 — "To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
22. Again, Jude tells us that all false prophets, no matter how fair, sweet, lovely, and godly they appear to be, are “ungodly men” (v. 15).
23. They are “murmurers” (v. 16).
24. They are “complainers” (v. 16).
Walking After Their Own Lusts
25. They are men who walk “after their own lusts” (v. 16).
Great, Swelling Words
26. False prophets are men who love to brag on men, speaking “great swelling words” (v. 16).
27. The reason they like to brag on you and make you feel so good about yourself is this. They are have men’s persons in admiration, hoping to get advantage for themselves by using you. — “Having men's persons in admiration because of advantage” (v. 16).
28. They are “mockers” walking “after their own ungodly lusts” (v. 18).
29. “These be they who separate themselves” (v. 18).
Verses 17–18 — "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; — "How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts."
30. These men are all “sensual” (v. 19).
Having Not the Spirit
31. They are all men “having not the Spirit” (v. 19).
Pause, my soul, adore, wander, give thanks forever for the grace of God that has kept you from the evil influence of such apostate men, by whom multitudes are forever damned!
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-17) "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (15) Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (16) Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, (17) Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."